Legal advice on cyber crime
Women in Bangladesh are the worst sufferers of the cases of cyber crimes. But, unfortunately, the percentage of conviction is very low. A survey shows that 34 percent of cyber crime victims are between 19 and 25 years old. Among the victims, 53 percent are women and 47 percent men. More than 1,371 cases are currently pending before the Cyber Tribunal. Many of them have been pending for four to five years. There is only one tribunal in the country. The first Cyber Tribunal in Bangladesh started its journey on July 28, 2013, but it still doesn’t have enough facilities. Initially, it started with only three cases.
A total of 33 cases were received by the tribunal in 2014, 152 in 2015, 233 in 2016, 568 in 2017, 676 in 2018 and 184 cases till March 27 of 2019.
Most of the cybercrime-related cases were filed under the ICT Act on charges of uploading indecent pictures of women on Facebook and other sites, hurting religious sentiment, making indecent remarks about important people, publishing false and defamatory statements on newspapers and online news portals, hacking bank passwords, leaking exam question papers and so on.
It has been almost six years, but there is no separate courtroom or "ejlash" for this Cyber Tribunal. The judge has been carrying out his work in special judge's court-4 when it is vacant, or there's a break.
The Cyber Tribunal does not work for many days when the Special Judges's Court-4 runs in full swing. If the special court can complete the day’s proceedings before lunch break, the Cyber Tribunal is able to function in the afternoon.
Even the Cyber Tribunal cannot work in the morning due to the lack of a separate and specific courtroom. Litigants, who come from different parts of Bangladesh to take part in the hearing, face immense suffering. Till March 27, 2019, the tribunal has received 1,849 cases. Amongst these, only 522 have been resolved. The poor number of cases being disposed of is due to the infrastructure problem.
Besides this, a large number of cases collapse because of a failure by police to apply the case under appropriate section. The newly enacted Digital Security Act 2018 does not have clear remedy for certain types of offences against women.
As women are being the targeted victims in cyber-related crimes, it is very important to have specific and provisions to encounter those offences.
Miti Sanjana is a Barrister-at-law from Honorable Society of Lincoln’s Inn and an Advocate of Supreme Court of Bangladesh and an activist.